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Pom-Pom Spider

A creative Halloween activity by Trish Kuffner

Pom-Pom Spiders

 

© copyright Trish Kuffner from The Preschooler's Busy Book with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Fun with Baby before Birth (after 25 weeks of pregnancy)

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

• Every day, sing the same song to your baby or play him your favorite music. He’ll recognize it after birth. You also may want to read the same children’s book or poem aloud every day.

• Talk to your baby. Have your partner lay his or her head on your lap and “speak” to your belly. Your baby is learning to recognize your voices and may respond when he hears them.

• Press on your belly when you feel your baby’s hand or foot push against your uterus. See if he responds to your touch. Try pressing twice (like double-clicking a mouse) and see if your baby mimics your action.

• Shine a flashlight on your belly. See if your baby responds to the light.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How to Write a Girls to the Rescue Story

Picture of The Best of Girls to the Rescue—Girls Save the Day

by Bruce Lansky

I came up with the idea of writing Girls to the Rescue stories because so many of Grimm's fairy tales portray girls as beautiful but helpless wimps. So, the main challenge in writing a story of this type is to create a story that showcases a main character who is clever, courageous (rather than witless and helpless). I'd like to suggest that you have your class read some Girls to the Rescue stories, so they'll be familiar with the unique stylistic requirements described below:

1. Main Character: Ask the students to think of ideas (brain storm) possible main characters for their stories. They can use:

  • famous fictional females (e.g., the further adventures of Maid Marion)
  • famous historical females (e.g., a particularly heroic incident in the life of Joan of Arc or Kate Shelley, a brave Iowa girl featured in ("Railroad Through and Through" in Girls to the Rescue #5 - Where There's Smoke There's Fire!)
  • girls from some other country or culture (from anywhere on earth or in the galaxy, for that matter)
  • someone they know (a friend or relative)
  • themselves (something real or fictional that they did or wish they could do)

2. Rescue: Ask the students to come up with ideas for who/what their main character will "rescue". Note that we use a very broad definition of rescue. (It doesn't have to be an action/adventure story. Read "Grandma Rosa's Bowl" in Girls to the Rescue #1 - The Royal Joust for a very emotional rescue.) For example:

  • Maid Marion could trick the Sheriff of Nottingham (as in Young Marion's Adventures in Sherwood Forest)
  • Kate Shelley crawled over a wrecked bridge to warn a train that the bridge was down.
  • A big sister could rescue a cat from a tree.
  • A popular student could help a shy student become accepted by the group.

3. The "Crux":

a) Because the heroine is not only courageous but smart, the rescue should be accomplished in some clever, surprising way. For example:

  • In "Sarah's Pickle Jar" (Girls to the Rescue #3 - Hidden Courage) Sarah used a pickle jar to win a court case for her father.
  • In "Lisa and the Lost Letter" (Girls to the Rescue #2 - Lion on the Prowl), Liza wanted to return a valuable letter to Princess Margaret, but had to figure out a way to get past the gatekeeper and the princess' secretary, both of whom wanted a bribe.
  • In "Carla and the Greedy Merchant" (Girls to the Rescue #1 - The Royal Joust), Carla had to come up with a way to trick a greedy merchant who had cheated her father out of his horse and wagon.
  • In "Temper, Temper" (Girls to the Rescue #4 - Fishing for Trouble), Franceska had to come up with a way to trick the crooked farmer who had taken advantage of her brothers and gotten them to work for nothing.
  • In "Kim's Surprise Witness" (Girls to the Rescue #2 - Lion on the Prowl), Kim proved that a greedy landlord had promised not to evict her family when her parents couldn't come up with the money to pay the rent--even though there was not human witness present.

Needless to say, if the main character is clever, then her "rescue" should contain an element of surprise to the reader.

b) However, some of the Girls to the Rescue stories feature courage beyond what anyone thought the main character could do. For example:

Suggest that your students read these stories so they can understand how important it is for Girls to the Rescue main characters to be clever and/or courageous.

4. Suspense: To build suspense, it's important that the main character not make the rescue quickly or easily--otherwise the rescue wouldn't demonstrate her brains and courage. Suggest that your students' main characters use the "rule of three" to build suspense. For example:in "For Love of Sunny" (Girls to the Rescue #1 - The Royal Joust) Princess Meghan has to do kill the giant troll, kill the dragon and then answer three difficult questions to prove herself to the mean queen.

5. Plot Outline: After selecting a main character and a clever or courageous rescue, ask your students to outline a story idea that shows what happens in the story. This is a good stage at which to test whether the key elements outlined above (an appropriate main character, an appropriate rescue, an appropriate crux) have been established.

6. First Draft: When the main elements have been included in the plot summary, your students are ready to write a first draft. Make sure they understand that you expect them to read this draft to friends and/or family for feedback before writing a final draft which takes advantage of constructive criticism they've received.

7. Publication: Here are some fun ways for your students to share their creative work:

  • Ask them to illustrate their stories (or find art or photos from various sources for that purpose. (No use discouraging kids who aren't confident of their artistic skills.)
  • Ask them to read their stories (or perform their stories as "readers' theatre") for a small group of students or for the entire class.
  • Invite parents or another classroom to enjoy the performances.
  • Donate the books your students have made to the school library, so others can enjoy them. (You might want to find an inexpensive way to "bind" the books so they last for more than a few readings.)
"Budding Author"

Picture of The Children's Busy Book

A creative activity by Trish Kuffner

What you'll need:

Paper stapled together with a construction paper cover OR a small notebook with blank pages OR an inexpensive scrapbook OR a three-ring binder with plastic page protectors OR a hand-bound volume

Directions:

Let your child write a story along the bottom of each page and illustrate it with drawings, photos, or cut-out pictures.

© copyright Trish Kuffner from The Children's Busy Book with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher - Goodreads Giveaway

We're running a book giveaway on Goodreads this week for Can You Solve the Mystery? #2 The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher! If you're a Goodreads member you can enter with the link below. If you're not a Goodreads member, be sure to check back for more upcoming giveaways!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher by M. Masters

The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher

Giveaway ends October 23, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win
Can You Solve the Mystery? - Two-Minute Mystery

Here's a fun and quick Two-Minute Mystery kids will be sure to enjoy!

The Case of the Clever Marathon Cheat

Click here for the answer!

 

© copyright 2013 from the Can You Solve the Mystery? series with permission of its publisher, Meadowbrook Press.

Q&A: What To Do When You Have Trouble Conceiving

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Q: If my partner and I have trouble conceiving, what can we do?

A: Difficulty conceiving a child can be frustrating. Visit our web site, http://www.pcnguide.com, for ways you can improve your health before conceiving and ways to enhance fertility. If you’ve been trying for more than a year, you may want to consult an infertility expert who can look for possible complications with ovulation or a low sperm count. If a problem is discovered, you may choose to use assisted reproductive technology (ART). To learn more about ART, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ART or http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/thinking-about-fertility-treatment.aspx.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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Leaf Place Mats from The Playdate Busy Book

Picture of The Playdate Busy Book

by Lisa Hanson and Heather Kempskie

Autumn leaves will make beautiful place settings!

What You'll Need

On a pleasant autumn day, playmates can gather a variety of fallen leaves. When inside, cut paper grocery bags into eight-inch-by-eleven-inch rectangles for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. Children can then glue leaves onto these homemade place mats or lightly paint a leaf and press the imprint onto their paper rectangles. When the finished place mats are dry, cover them with clear contact paper and trim the excess.

Babies

As older children make the place mats, make each baby a bib from the same materials. Cut a bib shape from a paper bag. Show the babies some brightly colored leaves and describe their colors: “This leaf is yellow; this leaf is orange.” See if they coo or reach for their favorites. Glue the leaves to the bibs, cover each bib with contact paper, and use ribbon and a hole punch to secure the bib around a baby’s neck. (Babies should wear the bib only under your close supervision.)

Toddler

Toddlers may enjoy gluing leaves onto the grocery bag with your help, but they may have an easier time creating their place mats if you skip the bag altogether. Instead, tape an eight-inch-by-eleven-inch sheet of clear contact paper sticky side up to the table and encourage them to stick the leaves directly to it. During this process, however, toddlers may discover that the dried leaves will often crumble if they try to pull them off the contact paper or if they press them on too roughly. If this happens, talk about the cause and effect—make sure they have lots of leaves! When they’re done, cover their work with another sheet of contact paper.

Preschoolers

At this age, preschoolers have the dexterity to paint one side of a leaf and press it onto their place mat. Encourage them to use different colors of paint and different shapes of leaves to create a design.

School-Age Children

For an added art challenge, encourage school-age children to incorporate the leaf imprints into a drawing on their place mats. For instance, they can turn an imprint of a maple leaf into butterfly wings or an imprint of an oak leaf into the flames from a rocket. 

Leaf Place Mats

© copyright 2013 by Lisa Hanson & Heather Kempskie from The Playdate Busy Book with permission of its publisher, Meadowbrook Press.

Can You Solve the Mystery? - Goodreads Book Giveaway

We're running a book giveaway on Goodreads this month for the first title in the Can You Solve the Mystery? series! If you're a Goodreads member you can enter with the link below. If you're not a Goodreads member, be sure to check back for more upcoming giveaways!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Secret of the Long-Lost Cousin by M. Masters

The Secret of the Long-Lost Cousin

Giveaway ends October 24, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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